Thapa mum on Nirmala rape, murder probe

Kathmandu, November 18

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa declined to give information regarding investigation into the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta in the Parliament’s State Affairs and Good Governance Committee today.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party lawmaker  Prem Suwal and Nepali Congress lawmaker  Devendra Raj Kandel sought updates from  Home Minister Thapa on the investigation into Nirmala Panta’s rape and murder but the home minister said he would inform the committee on some other occasion when the issue was listed in the agenda.

“It has been almost four months since Nirmala Panta was raped and murdered and yet the culprit(s) have not been nabbed. Where has the investigation reached so far?” Suwal wondered.

Suwal also demanded that the home minister update the Parliament about the investigation.

Lawmaker Kandel also sought information from the home minister regarding investigation into the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta.

Thapa, however, said, “I’ll inform you next time when the agenda is listed in the meeting.” He added, “The government also wants to share this information with committee members.”

Lawmaker Suwal later told THT that Thapa’s refusal to inform the House committee about the investigation meant that the government was trying to protect criminal(s).

Chairperson of the committee Shashi Shrestha said she would hold a separate meeting with the home minister and other government bureaucrats later. She added that the guilty in the case should be punished. The body of Nirmala, a resident of Bhimdutta Municipality of Kanchanpur,  was found on July 26.

The SAGG committee started its discussion on citizenship bill today. Home Minister Thapa said citizenship was a crucial issue and if not handled sensitively, the country’s sovereignty could be undermined.

He added that the government would investigate if foreigners had fraudulently obtained Nepali citizenship.  “There are reports of corruption during distribution of citizenship. People who deserved citizenship did not get it and those who did not deserve got it,” he said.